This Is The One I Want!

Linda Lou Burton posting about Reykjavik, Iceland from Little Rock, Arkansas – Yesterday we saw a lot of Reykjavik. We ate the famous hot dogs, we visited the Whales of Iceland museum, and we strolled the streets getting pictures of the street art (it really is everywhere) and the really pointy church; different styles of architecture for sure. We even had time to visit the US Embassy and register our names. But the hardest thing – we had to pick our next-day tour.

I’ve been on a submarine tour in Hawaii with Kayla (Yellow on the Submarine) https://capitalcitiesusa.org/?p=2424, and a circle-the-island tour and even an inside-the crater tour; and hula dancing of course. Sam and I spent a day with sled dogs and mushers in Alaska (Dog Day Afternoon) https://capitalcitiesusa.org/?p=4895, we also went whale watching (and saw whales!), and glacier spotting, driving every paved road in Juneau. Oh, a salmon fishery too. But we had ten days to play on those trips; here we’ve only got ONE FULL DAY to tour Iceland. And Iceland offers a literal buffet of touring opportunities. This tiny county with a population of 364,134 people and an area of 40,000 square miles is nothing short of unbelievable in “things to do.” There are Snorkeling Tours and Secret Lagoon Tours; Ice Cave Tours and Glacier Hikes; Kayaking, Snowmobiling, Horseback Riding and even just plain Sightseeing Tours. We quickly ruled out the Golden Circle Tour – it covers a lot of territory, circling the island, but it meant we’d spend a lot of time riding the bus.

Sam was interested in snorkeling; “Listen to this – Join one of our snorkeling tours to Silfra Fissure, the only place in the world where you can snorkel between two continental plates. Amazingly, there are places within Silfra where it is possible to touch the rock on either side.”

Snorkel between two continental plates!

Kayla spotted a hiking tour; “Listen to this – Hike to the colorful Highlands, a unique bubbling geothermal wonderland with caramel color peaks, soothing hot springs, rambling lava flows and clear blue lakes; located in Fjallabak Reserve in the remote highlands of Iceland.”

Hot Springs and Lava Flows!

They both shook their heads. Too hard to gather the underwater gear needed; too much time in one spot; hiking is slow; great tours, but too limited.

I really want to see the ice caves,” Kayla said then, scanning the list. “Listen to this — Katla Ice Cave (Under The Volcano) Tour. Jump in a Super Jeep, strap on your crampons and step into the mighty glaciers and ice caves of South Iceland. Hike across the Myrdalsjokull glacier, then visit the amazing blue and black ice cave of Kötlujökull glacier on Mt. Katla. Enchanting glaciers and mountains surround us along the way. We stop near the roots of Kötlujökull glacier and the view is otherworldly. Crampons and helmets on, a short walk to the opening of the ice cave. Beautiful layers of different colored ice and volcanic ash paint impressive stripes in the glacier. Your guide tells the history of the glacier, the ice cave and the area around it. Back out from the glacier we look for smaller accessible ice caves before returning to our super truck. Then we’ll swing by some majestic waterfalls — the Eerie waterfall of Skógafoss which is the inspiration to dozens of folklore tales. Hike up the right side of the waterfall to see the troll’s face that stares at the waterfall for all eternity after forgetting time and turning into stone. Stop at the stunning Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the one you can walk behind; it is located on the Seljalands River which flows from the famous volcano, Eyjafjallajökull! Back in Reykjavik around 8:00 p.m. Make sure to bring your camera! “

This is the one I want! said Kayla.

“Too much hiking,” Sam said. “Listen to this one — Combine Snowmobiling on Langjökul Glacier with an Ice Cave Exploration. Pickup up in Reykjavik or Gullfoss Café, head to Langjökull Glacier in the Icelandic Highlands in our super truck. From here you can see Eiríksjökull Glacier (the highest mountain in west Iceland), Hofsjökull Glacier and the Kerlingafjöll Mountains. Your certified glacier guide provides overalls, helmet and all the gear you need, gives you a safety briefing and snowmobile driving instructions. You are then ready to ride – your stunning 1-hour snowmobile ride takes you across Langjökull Glacier, the second largest glacier in Iceland; it feels like a magic carpet chase across the roof of majestic white land. Langjökull Ice Cave is a totally spellbinding stunner; this is ‘The White Glacier’ and the Ice Cave is  the most amazing bright jewel blue ice imaginable. The ice-ceiling above you resembles a brilliant blue river, the ice is so exceptionally translucent, it seems as though you are surrounded by pure blue-hued quartz crystal jewels. The ice around this ‘blue river´ is white, with unusual gray ‘zebra striping’ from the ash layers of various volcanic eruptions. Explore and photograph the cave and enjoy the rare and precious crystalline blue beauty of this amazing natural ice cavern. Outside, your trusty snowmobile is waiting, ready to skim you across Langjökull to our Snowmobile Base Camp and then Gullfoss Café, beside the famous waterfall.

This is the one I want! said Sam.

Meanwhile, I was doing my own plotting. Our ages are transposed – 18 and 81 — and so are our energy levels. I am way too claustrophobic to go into a cave of any kind, no matter how beautiful. My footing in too unstable to walk on ice, and even on an IMAGINARY RTW I can’t imagine wanting to drive a snowmobile. I wanted to see the countryside, especially the geothermals. But I didn’t want to sit on a bus with a lot of other tourists. “Listen to this,” I said. “Geothermal Iceland – Helicopter Tour. Geothermal pools, power plants, lava fields, craters & Reykjavik. Discover Iceland’s geothermal energy from the quiet and comfortable seat of a helicopter. Soar above the volcanic landscape, over geothermal pools and power plants, lava fields and craters. A brief landing to witness the raw, primeval energy rising up from the earth. Fly over the Hengill volcano, which is still active, as evidenced by numerous hot springs and fumaroles in the area. Stop here to see the hot springs, calcium-rich solfatara and boiling water running several feet under the earth’s surface, producing a multitude of steaming fumaroles all around. This volcano is an important source of energy for the country, which is utilized at the Nesjavellir and the Hellisheidi power stations, where groundwater is heated and distributed to the district. Our tour concludes after ascending over Reykjavik, with a great aerial overview of the colorful houses of the city.”

This is the one I Want! said Linda.

When we get back to our room tonight, what great stories we’ll have to share.

Iceland Day Tours  https://adventures.is/iceland/day-tours/